Film, Reviews

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We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

19 Jun 20144 stars

A beautifully shot, well acted and suspenseful teenage noir starring Mackenzie Davis

This feature debut of brothers Zeke and Simon Hawkins sets out its smalltown Texan noir ambitions early, with college-bound teenager Sue (rising star Mackenzie Davis, from That Awkward Moment) pointedly quoting pulp thriller writer Jim Thompson in a…

In Order of Disappearance

19 Jun 20144 stars

Extremely black revenge comedy starring Stellan Skarsgard as a vigilante Citizen of the Year

Directed by Hans Petter Moland, In Order of Disappearance is set in a remote Norwegian town and stars Stellan Skarsgard as snowplough driver Nils Dickman, who has recenty been voted Citizen of the Year. When his son is killed by a vicious drug gang…

Welcome to New York

18 Jun 20142 stars

Trashy account of Strauss-Khan assault case says little, despite Jacqueline Bisset and Depardieu

The (dis)-honourable traditions of the film a clef, true-life stories fictionalised for legal reasons in the fashion of Citizen Kane, The Greek Tycoon or Velvet Goldmine, are spottily maintained by Abel Ferrara's torn-from-the-headlines drama Welcome to…

Snowpiercer

18 Jun 20142 stars

Leaden and confused all-star movie of interest only to fans of expensively botched sci-fi money-pits

Much anticipated, Joon-ho Bong’s's futuristic train epic, expensively adapted from a French graphic novel called Le Transperceneige, finally arrives at UK platforms way behind schedule and in a somewhat disheveled state. The high-powered concept for…

Joe

18 Jun 20144 stars

Nicolas Cage excels in powerful, grimy drama that elevates ordinary story to near-operatic heights

David Gordon Green's biggest hit, urban-stoner comedy Pineapple Express, is very much untypical of the moody, backwater dramas he directs on an annual basis, from George Washington to Prince Avalanche. Joe is another entry in his canon of accomplished…

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Hyena

18 Jun 20143 stars

Gerard Johnson's grisly thriller is a strong enough film, but an odd choice for EIFF opening night

EIFF opens this year with a grisly standoff between ultra-violent Albanian gangsters and racist, homophobic, bribe-taking, coke-hoovering London cops, among whom only Michael Logan (Peter Ferdinando) retains a guttering wisp of moral awareness. The…

Palo Alto

18 Jun 20142 stars

Gia Coppola's James Franco adap offers simplistic take on teenage life, despite fine performances

This drifting tale of drifting middle class teens is the filmmaking debut of Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis. Adapted from a short story collection by James Franco – who makes an appearance as a sleazy girls’ football coach – it follows…

A Dangerous Game

18 Jun 20143 stars

You've Been Trumped follow-up explores global perspective on corporate aggression, but pulls punches

Film-maker Anthony Baxter struck a chord worldwide with his documentary You've Been Trumped!, in which he documented the bully-boy methods used by millionaire Donald Trump to stop Baxter from investigating his proposed plans for Scottish golf-courses.

Camille Claudel 1915

17 Jun 20143 stars

Bruno Dumont's historical biopic is a quiet heartbreaker starring a luminous Juliette Binoche

Camille Claudel spent the last 30 years of her life confined to an asylum near Avignon. Using her medical records and correspondence, Bruno Dumont's sparse drama focuses on a brief period early in her incarceration. It effectively conveys the decades of…

Jersey Boys

17 Jun 20143 stars

Clint Eastwood delivers a disappointingly workmanlike account of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

In his directing career, Clint Eastwood has tackled both biopics (J Edgar) and films about iconic musicians (Bird), but he still seems like an odd choice to direct the big screen adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical: one can only assume he was a…

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The Fault in Our Stars

17 Jun 20143 stars

Watching the film adaptation of John Green's terminal love story will require tissues, or a bucket

A story about first love in the face of certain death, The Fault in Our Stars is based on the novel by John Green. At the centre is a hugely affecting performance from Shailene Woodley – who is shaping up to be something of a star herself. Josh Boone's…

3 Days To Kill

17 Jun 20142 stars

Kevin Costner headlines a preposterous actioner that fails to clone Liam Neeson's Taken

Directed by McG, 3 Days to Kill stars Kevin Costner as hotshot CIA operative Ethan Renner, who's diagnosed with terminal lung cancer (signified by a Cough of Death) after collapsing on his latest mission. Determined to spend his remaining days…

Of Horses and Men

17 Jun 20143 stars

A series of Icelandic vignettes successfully portraying the interweaving lives of horses and humans

In a succession of vignettes, this Icelandic feature depicts various interactions between horses and humans that highlight both the symbiosis and the separation between human and animal lives. The Icelandic title translates literally as ‘The Horse in…

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

16 Jun 20143 stars

A beautiful but over-simplified family-friendly nature doc narrated by Morgan Freeman

At 40 minutes, David Douglas’ slender, family-friendly IMAX lemur doc is a hark back to the format’s days as a short-form edutainment outlet. Friendly, photogentic primates leap across the massive screen while Morgan Freeman’s subterranean tones…

Chef

4 Jun 20144 stars

Amusing and occasionally charming Jon Favreau project with some big name supporting roles

Sandwiched right in the heart of this amiable comedy-drama by Jon Favreau is a big, fat career metaphor. The writer-director-actor plays Carl Casper, a divorced chef who works for a plush Los Angeles restaurant – until a food blogger (Oliver Platt…

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Oculus

4 Jun 20143 stars

Karen Gillan-starring supernatural thriller from Blumhouse is a good little midnight movie

Right back to Night of The Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, horror has always been at its best when it stays low-budget. Take Mike Flanagan’s Oculus, another offering from the impressive Blumhouse Productions – the company behind such…

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

4 Jun 20143 stars

Offbeat adventure packed with Jean-Pierre Jeunet's trademark crazy energy and visual splendour

Its full title – The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet – may be a bit of a mouthful, but this latest effort from French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet is still packed tight with his usual crazy energy. His first English-language effort since the rather…

Chinese Puzzle

4 Jun 20143 stars

Third instalment in series is as slick, fun and ultimately insubstantial as its predecessors

The third in French writer/director Cédric Klapisch’s occasional series of films following the life and loves of writer Xavier (Romain Duris) continues on from Pot Luck (2002) and Russian Dolls (2006), and is as slick, fun and ultimately insubstantial…

22 Jump Street

3 Jun 20144 stars

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return in one of the finest sequels you're ever likely to see

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reunite to hilarious effect in 22 Jump Street, a rare sequel that actually manages to surpass the crowd-pleasing achievements of the original. Co-directed once again by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, this winning…

Cold In July

3 Jun 20143 stars

Entertainingly oddball adaptation full of pulpy B-movie ingredients

You never quite know where you stand with Cold In July and that is a large part of its appeal. Director Jim Mickle has a track record built on twisted genre hybrids like vampire yarn Stake Land and cannibal family drama We Are What We Are.

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Belle

3 Jun 20144 stars

Assured historical drama profiling illegitimate daughter of British aristocrat and an African slave

The fact that a decade has passed since Amma Asante's BAFTA-winning debut A Way Of Life is a stark reminder of how difficult it is for even the most talented individuals to make films in Britain. Belle is an elegantly assured, emotionally charged…

The Dirties

2 Jun 20143 stars

A dark, not-quite-funny indie comedy about two amateur filmmakers planning a school shooting

The line between reality and fiction is ripped apart by Canadian writer-director Matt Johnson in this ramshackle yet inventive first feature, which arrives with the effusive backing of Kevin Smith. The Dirties was shot for just $10,000 with virtually no…

A Million Ways to Die in the West

2 Jun 20142 stars

Family Guy and Ted creator Seth MacFarlane stars in this cowboy comedy-cum-vanity project

Seth MacFarlane comes out from behind the teddy bear to take centre stage in this misjudged effort. The writer-director-producer is also the flesh-and-blood star of a film that has the stench of a vanity project, a work of eye-watering indulgence that…

Edge of Tomorrow

28 May 20144 stars

The Tom Cruise-starring sci-fi actioner is witty, thrilling and consistently inventive

Based on the novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Edge of Tomorrow is directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and plays like Groundhog Day crossed with Starship Troopers. Set in the near future, where the Earth is under deadly attack…

Blended

27 May 20142 stars

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's third pairing is a good film scuttled by crudeness

Directed by Frank Coraci, Blended marks the third romcom collaboration between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, following The Wedding Singer (also directed by Coraci) and 50 First Dates. Their chemistry is still very much intact, but the film badly…